This article is in the continuation with the previous articles' series on History Notes on Indian National Movement (1885-1905), Indian National Movement (1905 - 1916), Indian National Movement (1917-1930)& Indian National Movement (1930-1946). In this article, we will discuss the Mountbatten Plan & Partition of India. These notes will help you score better in the upcoming SSC & Railway Exams.
History Notes: Mountbatten Plan & Partition of India
Mountbatten Plan (1947)
- On 20 February l947, Prime Minister Atlee announced in the House of Commons the definite intention of the British Government to transfer power to responsible Indian hands.
- Thus, to effect the transference of that power Atlee decided to send Lord Mountbatten as Viceroy to India.
- Lord Mountbatten armed with vast powers became India’s Viceroy on 24 March 1947.
- The partition of India and the creation of Pakistan appeared inevitable to him.
- After extensive consultation, Lord Mountbatten put forth the plan of partition of India on 3 June 1947.
- The Congress and the Muslim League ultimately approved the Mountbatten Plan. Indian Independence Act 1947.
- The British Government accorded formal approval to the Mountbatten Plan by enacting the Indian Independence Act on 18 July 1947.
- The partition of the country into India and Pakistan would come into effect from 15 August 1947.
- The British Government would transfer all powers to these two Dominions.
- A Boundary Commission would demarcate the boundaries of the provinces of the Punjab and Bengal.
- The Act provided for the transfer of power to the Constituent Assemblies of the two Dominions, Which will have full authority to frame their respective Constitutions.
- The Radcliff Boundary Commission drew the boundary line separating India and Pakistan.
- On 15th August 1947 India, and on the 14th August Pakistan came into existence as two independent states.
- Lord Mountbatten was made the first Governor General of Independent India.
- Whereas Mohammad Ali Jinnah became the first Governor General of Pakistan.
- The most tragic incident occurred on 30 January 1948, when Mahatma Gandhi - the father of the nation on his way to a prayer meeting was assassinated by Nathuram Godse.
Demand for Pakistan
- In 1940 at the Lahore session of the Muslim League, the demand for a separate state of Pakistan was made. It was based on the two-nation theory.
- The Muslim League demanded that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North-Western and Eastern Zones of India should be grouped to constitute the Independent States in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign.
- The demand for a separate state was opposed by large sections of Muslims who were against any separatist demand.
- Many nationalist leaders like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who had always been in the forefront of the national movement opposed the demand for a separate state and fought against communal tendencies and for the freedom of the Indian people.
- Of these the more prominent were the Khuda Khidmatgar in the North-West Frontier Province organized by the Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Watan party in Baluchistan, the All-India Momin Conference, the Ahrar Party, the All India Shia Political Conference and the Azad Muslim Conference.
- These organizations along with Congress, led a large number of Muslims in the struggle for independence.
- The Muslim League was encouraged by the British government to press its demand for a separate state and played the game of British imperialism which had the effect of disrupting and weakening the movement for independence.
- When the Congress withdrew from the provincial governments in protest against British attitude to the demand for independence, the Muslim League celebrated the event by observing Deliverance Day and tried to form ministries in the provinces although they did not have a majority in any provincial legislature.
- Jinnah was alarmed at the results of the elections because the Muslim League was in danger of being totally eclipsed in the constituent assembly.
- Therefore, Muslim League withdraws its acceptance of the Cabinet Mission Plan on Jul 29, 1946.
- It passed a ‘Direct action’ resolution, which condemned both the British Government and the Congress (Aug 16, 1946).
- It resulted in heavy communal riots.
- Jinnah celebrated Pakistan Day on Mar 27, 1947.